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The Way to Freedom

Ezra 5:1-5 :

Now the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem. They prophesied to them in the name of the God of Israel. Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build God’s house which is at Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, helping them. At the same time Tattenai, the governor beyond the River came to them, with Shetharbozenai, and their companions, and asked them, “Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall?” They also asked for the names of the men were who were making this building. But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they didn’t make them cease, until the matter should come to Darius, and an answer should be returned by letter concerning it.

Even though things didn't look good for the people in Jerusalem, they had what they really needed. Even without the permission of the king and with the threat of armed combat and legal action, the people in Israel had a very powerful weapon. They had access to the word of God. We are told here that there were at least two prophets available, Haggai and Zechariah. Their books of prophesy are recorded later in the Bible. When we are armed with the words of God and with prayer, we have all we need to succeed at anything, as long as we do what He says.

Evidently, God wanted the people to start working right away, even illegally. I love how the prophets rolled up their sleeves and got working too, along with the leader, Zerubbabel. That's what true leadership looks like. Notice that the people didn't just pick up weapons and start fighting their oppressors. They took their cues from their leadership and started doing what God told them to do. Notice that these lesser magistrates lead a revolt against the higher ones, knowing that they had the word of God behind them. This is the only appropriate thing for any magistrate to do in this situation. They must obey God rather than man. To obey a man who rebels against God, is to rebel against God with him. To rebel against a tyrannt in order to follow God, is the responsiblity of every man woman and child who wishes to be free.

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